Scotty G’s Box Office Predictions – Weekend of January 29th, 2009


Mel Gibson returns to the silver screen this weekend, and Kristen Bell will find out if she has what it takes to be a leading lady at the box office.  Unfortunately for both of them, neither actor’s film will topple Avatar at the box office.  Here’s how I think the weekend will unfold.

Mel Gibson returns to the silver screen for his first leading role since 2002’s Signs with Edge of Darkness.  The film is about a father who is seeking out the truth about why his daughter was gunned down on his front porch.  The film is based on a BBC mini-series that was directed by Martin Campbell.  Martin also directed this version, which is interesting for any cinephile to see how the same director’s vision can change between the two formats.  An absence of 8 years between starring in a major film is a big gap, and I would say most people would not care about Mel returning to the cinemas.  Having said that, Mel was not completely away from Hollywood as he directed a couple of films (The Passion of the Christ and Apocolypto), and made the tabloids a few times, so his name would appear from time to time.  The film does not have much in the way of supporting characters (Ray Winstone and Danny Huston appear from time to time, but not too often), so this film is absolutely focused on Gibson, which might be why he chose this vehicle as his comeback film.  Critics have been lukewarm on the film with Rotten Tomatoes giving the film a 55% positive rating as of this writing.  Love him or hate him, I think Mel can still open a film, even if it won’t be as high as he might be used too.  Opening in 3,066 theatres, I’m predicting Edge of Darkness will open at number two with a gross of $22 million.

The other new release is the romantic comedy When In Rome starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel. The film is about a girl who makes a wish when she is in Rome, and her wish begins to come true, but not in the way she imagined it would.  The stars are not A List actors by any stretch, but are both up and comers who are trying to become actors who can headline films.  Unfortunately, I don’t think this was the right vehicle for either of them.  First off, I openly question why Disney did not try to release this picture on Feb. 12/10, as that is Valentine’s Day weekend.  It just makes sense for a romantic comedy to come out closer to Valentine’s Day, as it might get some unintentional business (i.e. – people who don’t normally see romantic films in theatres, but make an exception for Valentine’s Day).  The second reason why I think this film is a poor choice is based on the reviews.  As of this writing, Rotten Tomatoes lists the film at 20% positive.  Reviews have been said that the jokes in the film are not that funny.  Both actors have talent, and I’m sure will do better on other films, but this is just not the film that will take their careers to the next level.  Opening in 2,456 theatres (which shows me that the studio does not have a ton of faith in the film, because if it did, the number of theatres the film would open in would be over 2,750), I’m predicting the film will gross $12 million and finish in 3rd place.

I’m predicting both new releases to stay in the top five, so that means two films from last weekend will drop out.  The two films to say good-bye from the elite five will be The Lovely Bones and The Tooth Fairy.  The fact that both these films are already out of the top five should be a disappointment to everyone involved.  Here’s how I think the remaining films will do:

Avatar will hold continue to hold strong, dipping only 20% for a gross of $27.92 million to stay in the #1 spot.

The Book of Eli will drop 55% for a gross of $7 million, and will finish in 4th place.

Legion will drop 61% for a gross of $6.825 million, and finish in 5th place.

In limited release, we have Saint John of Vegas starring Steve Buscemi as a recovering compulsive gambler opening in two theatres.  It has a 7% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

So to recap, here are my predictions:

  1. Avatar – $27.92 million
  2. Edge of Darkness – $22 million
  3. When In Rome – $12 million
  4. The Book of Eli – $7 million
  5. Legion – $6.825 million

Check back on Sunday to see how I did!

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